Not My Usual Clean and Somewhat Classy Blog…
Book of Acts, Chapter 1, Verses 6-8 (continued)
Verse 6. “When they therefore were come together, (they came together on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem. At one time it was covered with olive trees. Jesus often came here to pray. Several important events took place on this mountain.) they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
Verse 7. “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
Verse 8. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
What Business Are You In?
A great fallacy of the North American prosperity doctrine is that it presumes God having the same ambitions for us that we may have for ourselves. Such is usually not the case. Just as restoring the Kingdom to Israel was not Jesus’ business, making me rich is not God’s business.
Jesus Christ came to redeem the world unto himself – that was His business. When they would have crowned Him king, he eluded the crowd and disappeared from among them. He left us with a ministry of reconciliation. It is not us accumulating wealth that is God’s objective; instead, it is to reach the lost.
An aside – the other difficulty with the “prosperity doctrine” is it not fitting in every setting around the world. In third world countries, a family is prosperous if they have food for two meals each day. Most of you would not think those people to be prosperous at all. Jesus’ message fits in Ethiopia, Honduras, or the poorest part of India. His message is not about human success. His message is about deliverance from sin.
Are you in the same business God is in?
These eleven men could not see that the “world” was as important as the nation of Israel.
During these forty days, they had already been commissioned to go, teach, convert, and teach. (Matthew 28:19-20)
- They had already forgotten the commission to go into all the world to preach the gospel.
- Once again, they were confined within the cage of their preconceived ideas, as well as their prejudice.
- The polar bear in the Denver zoo was confined in an area where he could only go six steps, turn six steps, and then again turn six steps. Funds were raised to build the largest, best, and most natural setting of any zoo in the land. The exhibit was built, and the polar bear was brought from his tiny cage and released in this expanse of space, at least comparably. The bear’s reaction – he walked six steps one direction, turned, and walk back six steps, over and over. The bear’s walls were no longer metal. His walls were memory. I’ve seen men come from prison with a grand opportunity to do something meaningful. They’d been educated while in custody; perhaps had learned a trade. But often within months were back behind metal bars. Why? Confined by walls of memory. The disciples were confined by walls of their own ambition.
The word translated “power” is the Greek word dunamis, meaning a demonstrative power. This was not potential power, held in reserve, but power to employ for a purpose.
Missions – Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth communicated an outward flow of influence. This is yet again a contrast to the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus does not see the impact of His Kingdom being only in square miles. Some of us have a conception of God that won’t fill the bottom of a thimble.
Instead, Jesus sees an impact being made to the “uttermost.”
The order provided by Jesus is important. Jesus begins locally and extends beyond. Many dreamers fantasize of the charm of being God’s missionaries overseas, but the divine order suggests that witnessing should begin in our own backyard! First, we must tell the story to those immediately around us, and that place is often the most arduous mission field. Whether these disciples served at home or far away, they would need a supernatural power to inspire their ministry. That power would be forthcoming when the Holy Ghost filled them.
The light that shines the farthest shines the brightest at home.
To contact Carlton L. Coon Sr. as a speaker, for a guest blog post, or podcast - email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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